Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening

by Manal Al-Sharif

Book, 2017


Simon & Schuster (2017), 304 pages


Biography & Autobiography. History. Nonfiction. HTML:"A vital, inspiring book" (O, The Oprah Magazine): a ferociously intimate memoir by a devout woman from a modest family in Saudi Arabia who became the unexpected leader of the courageous movement that won Saudi women the right to drive. Manal al-Sharif grew up in Mecca the second daughter of a taxi driver, born the year strict fundamentalism took hold. In her adolescence, she was a religious radical, melting her brother's boy band cassettes in the oven because music was haram: forbidden by Islamic law. But what a difference an education can make. By her twenties Manal was a computer security engineer, one of few women working in a desert compound built to resemble suburban America. That's when the Saudi kingdom's contradictions became too much to bear: she was labeled a slut for chatting with male colleagues, her school-age brother chaperoned her on a business trip, and while she kept a car in the garage, she was forbidden from driving on Saudi streets. Manal al-Sharif's memoir is an "eye-opening" (The Christian Science Monitor) account of the making of an accidental activist, a vivid story of a young Muslim woman who stood up to a kingdom of men�and won. Daring to Drive is "a brave, extraordinary, heartbreakingly personal" (Associated Press) celebration of resilience in the face of tyranny and "a testament to how women in Muslim countries are helping change their culture, one step at a time" (New York Journal of Books).… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Beamis12
A comprehensive and honest rendering of a woman's life in Saudi Arabia. For any curious about if what you hear and see on the television is true, this book will astonish, fill in many blanks about living in a country ruled by Sharia law. A country where the religious police are given even more
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power than the law. The author takes us through her childhood, living in Mecca, her parents, a sister she was often at odds with and her beloved brother. Where a woman is allowed to do so little on her own, where a male family member or guardian must intercede and give approval for the smallest thing, even medical care.

Will show how the younger generation is being radicalized​, and the basis for the commitment in Sharia law by this younger group. Some of this I knew but never in such detail. It is almost unbelievable some of the things that are both allowed, and I know most readers will find some of these events shocking. The bravery and the honesty, of this young woman who no longer lives in this county though still maintains close ties there, is awe inspiring. Things are changing, but so very slowly and due to woman such as these who put their lives and happiness on the line for others. A very profound telling, written in a very personal way, I came away with so much admiration for this woman and her strength. A book that makes me realize that no matter how unhappy I am with what is going on in the political arena and onslaught​s on woman's rights, I am still lucky to live in the country I do. It also showed me the importance of defending what we do have and standing up for what we believe.
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LibraryThing member MontzaleeW
Daring to Drive: A gripping account of one woman's home-grown courage that will speak to the fighter in all of us by Manal Al-Sharif is a book I requested from NetGalley and the book publishers and the review is voluntary.
This book had my emotions everywhere. It is sad, heartbreaking, full of
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encouragement, hope, made me angry, happy, and many emotions in between. There are a lot of stories about many women in Saudi Arabia, from their early life on. I am a nurse and I had a friend that was a nurse in the ER there for three years and she told me horrendous stories involving the the abuse of the women, mostly from neglect, so this book really caught my eye. On World Music there was a song about this woman too.
Her bravery and her courage is to be commended esp. in a society that treats women with such contempt. A wonderful book. All women should read this!
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LibraryThing member CharlotteBurt
This book is a very brave account of a life constrained by the laws of one of the richest countries in the world, but one where women have virtually no rights. It is predominantly a memoir sharing the life of an ordinary Saudi woman who is trying to make things better for her fellow women in a
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country where anybody without a y chromosome is denied the freedoms that western women take for granted.
This is an important book both from a feminist and a world perspective and I think every woman should read it.

For the full review check out my blog: Engrossed in a Good Book
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LibraryThing member sriddell
This first-person account of growing up in Saudi Arabia was really wrenching, but ultimately hopeful.

The book opens with Manal's arrest for "driving while female", then backtracks to tell the full story of her life up until that moment. The writing is beautiful and the story is very compelling.
LibraryThing member hobbitprincess
Manal is a Saudi Arabian woman and a Muslim whose life has been dominated by the restrictions that laws and customs have dictated for her. In this book, she shares much about her growing up, born in Saudi Arabia in 1979, so the writing is current. Many parts of the book are painful to read and hard
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to imagine. I admire her courage in trying to change things so that lives will be better for Saudi women. The changes are happening very slowly. I also was impressed by the devotion to her religion that didn't wiaver through all that she experienced.
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Original publication date





1476793026 / 9781476793023
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